The Bellwether College Consortium is pleased to announce a call for applications for the 2022 Bellwether Award. The submission portal will open on Wednesday, April 28th. The consortium invites its members (and nonmembers) to participate in a transformative and rewarding experience of sharing their respective responses to bellwether issues and engaging in an immersive, interactive final round of competition for this national recognition. A Bellwether Award winner will be chosen in each of the three categories below.

1) Instructional Programs & Services: Programs or activities that have been designed and successfully implemented to foster or support teaching and learning in the community college.

2) Planning, Governance, & Finance: Programs or activities that have been designed and successfully implemented to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the community college.

3) Workforce Development: Public and/or private strategic alliances and partnerships that promote community and economic development by producing workforce.



The content in the application should address the following elements for the first round of competition (criterion weights are shown in parentheses):

The criteria is described below:

  • Identify a critical issue or challenge that this program, model, policy or service was designed to address. (20%)
  • Describe the process, timeline, participants, and resources required to implement the program model, policy or service. (30%)
  • Specify the performance indicators and outcomes that have demonstrated the success of this program, model, policy or service from an equity lens (if applicable) and success in scalability. (25%)
  • Elaborate on lessons learned for colleges considering a replication of this initiative. (25%)

Important Changes to the 2022 Bellwether Award Competition

We no longer ask for an optional video clip in the application. However, if selected as one of the 30 Bellwether Finalists, a short video can be included in the college’s showcase display or formal presentation to the judges at the Futures Assembly.  

The 2022 Community College Futures Assembly Showcase will be a judged event. As a part of the final round of competition, the 30 Bellwether finalists will present their submission to attendees, including judges during the celebratory kickoff to the Assembly. Skirted tables will be provided to all finalists and a limited number of electrical outlets will be available.


Chronology of Events

Call for Applications

The application portal for the 2022 Bellwether Award competition opens in April 2021. This is an open call to all public community colleges in the United States and its territories. Announcements will be provided via social media and email correspondence.


Collection of Applications

To be considered for the Bellwether Awards, a formal application form must be completed and received by the Community College Futures Assembly no later than September 15, 2021. Applications MUST be submitted ELECTRONICALLY via the ONLINE portal. The Program Summary portion of the application will be scored by our esteemed judges. The summary should not exceed 500 words. No supplemental information is needed.  

Submit Your Entry Here

Application Deadline: September 15, 2021 at 11:59 PM (CT)


Application Review

 All applications will be sent to the judges, and they will determine 10 finalists in each category on the basis of the selection criteria (see above).

30 Bellwether Finalists Announced

The 30 Bellwether Finalists will be notified no later than October 2021 and announced via press release and showcased on the consortium’s social media resources. 


Community College Futures Assembly Registration and Preparation of Formal Presentation

Finalists will be invited to join the Bellwether College Consortium and register for the 2022 Community College Futures Assembly held in January. A Center for Disease Control (CDC)-abiding venue in beautiful San Antonio is being considered for the 2022 Community College Futures Assembly. An announcement of the venue will be made closer to the event date.

College finalists must confirm their attendance and register all attendees and presenters. Attendees are reminded to make reservations using the conference hotel link by the January deadline. College representatives (e.g. trustees, chancellor, presidents) and business and industry partners are strongly encouraged to attend and provide institutional support for their respective colleges. Three nationally representative panels of distinguished guests will serve as judges. They will select the three Bellwether Award winners. The 2022 Bellwether Award will be presented to the winner of each category at the Bellwether Award Ceremony. 

A Bellwether Finalist webinar will be announced to address questions, presentation preparation, and the required digital binder submission. Finalists will receive an invitation to this free preparatory event.


2022 Bellwether Award Ceremony

This is a memorable, celebratory event not to be missed! Past event highlights include congratulatory remarks from the U.S. Secretary of Education, and engaging conversations with leading CEOs and presidents of influential higher education organizations. 


Timeline for the 2022 Community College Futures Assembly

  • Tuesday, April 27, 2021 – Application portal opens
  • May 11, 2021- Bellwether Award Submission Webinar 
  • September 15, 2021 – Deadline for Completed Application
  • October 22, 2021 – Judges review Applications (Round One)
  • October 26, 2021 (Tentative) –  30 Bellwether Finalists Announced
  • TBA – Bellwether Finalist Webinar
  • October 26, 2021 (Tentative) – Registration Opening
  • December 1, 2021 – Deadline for Finalists to Register for Futures Assembly
  • TBD – Registration Deadline
  • TBD – Binder Submission Deadline
  • TBD  – Community College Futures Assembly
  • TBD – Presentations by 30 Bellwether Finalists (Round Two)
  • TBD – Bellwether Award Ceremony